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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I'm thinking about doing the CGC and TDI with my crew. The next TDI evaluation is in about 3 weeks. They will all do fine on the obedience part, but I anticipate hiccups during the "reaction to another dog" and "supervised separation". Whiskey is very much a dog's dog and loves to play with other dogs. He is liable to react by play bowing or goofing off. All three are velcro dogs and will possibly react when I am out of sight, but we can probably train this away.

More info: http://www.tdi-dog.org/images/TestingBrochure.pdf
TDI additions to the basic CGC are listed in red.

So my questions are:
What are some possible issues that I should watch out for during testing?
What should I anticipate and train for in advance?
Any personal stories of interesting situations that have occurred during testing?
Any tips for "supervised separation" and "reaction to another dog"?

I don't really care if we fail or not. It's just something to do for fun before our trial. But it would certainly be nice to pass! :)
 

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Are there any practice sessions you can attend? I took classes that made it easy - the dogs didn't need as much class as we got, but it was fun to do with them and I got to see how they would react to each little part of the test. I am just going to blurt thoughts...

The dogs I saw fail in the times I have taken it had trouble with the separation - and in one class with 3 GSDs, all failed for that.

The friendly stranger - walks up and into the space of the dog - my dogs I have trained to go up and into the space of people instead as they ask to pet them so I had to do some little tune ups there.

The touching/grooming part - we were able to bring our own tool so I brought their favorites - my BC mix doesn't like grooming so I brought the most useless, but very soft, brush that she likes. For the touching of the feet, I taught a high five or a shake so that again, the dog was in control for the most part. With my one dog, a Schipperke mix who hated his feet touched, we spent a while before the test doing touch, treat, touch, treat.

Dogs do dog things! So the perfect sitter may break, etc. And you laugh.

I love that you could talk to the dog and that the heel isn't necessarily a perfect one, just loose leash showing you were in control. So I did a lot of high happy for my Schipperke mix as he tended to follow his nose, but loved to be talked to about how great he was.

During the crowd scene, someone ran past my dog who was 11 taking the test for the first time - and he was like WAHOOOOO and started to break/lunge/chase and I just turned in the opposite direction very quickly and he was kind of mid-air so he just came along...that was kind of lucky. But be aware that someone might do that.

The noise - always startles me more than the dog and I laugh after to make sure that they don't think I am nervous. But I truly am startled!

Beware of hidden food - testers or crowed that have food or treats on their persons or equipment. My Ava almost plucked a pack of graham crackers out of a fabric holder on a walker.

My little Mariele did a down during the meeting of a dog, which was really weird to do, and she always chose to do it during class so that's what she did for the test. Now, she doesn't always know the difference between a sit and a down (head injury) but she was 100% on the down. They said unusual because so vulnerable in meeting a new dog that way.

I did a lot of strategic moving in that one anyway - body blocking, not letting my dog peek around, and the tester dog do it either. None of my dogs ever really want to meet a dog (not aggressive, just bored indifference) so that helped a ton! Not sure what I'd do with a friendly dog! I might use a new command for that - different than sit/stay or sit/wait, but more like a leave it type idea.

For the supervised separation they would check the floor and if the paw pads left marks, even if the dog was fairly quiet (though that never happened in combo) they would stop the test due to high stress. For that the best thing to do is to do short periods to start, short distances, in sight, using high value treats, and increase all/go out of sight, over time.

I have taken it with 5 dogs, 2 who also did the TDI, 3 who are/were fear aggressive, 1 of those with a brain injury, and all passed because the test really tests how you react to your dog and then work around their strengths and weaknesses, which is a good citizen thing to do! Sometimes though I think the more severe the behavior challenges of the dog, the easier it is - the normal dogs in Mariele's class failed, she passed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much for the info! The GSDs attend our schh club regularly so they are better in a "teaching" environment and their obedience is proofed. My little rescue girl is the one that I anticipate having problems. She has not been in a class since she was about 4 months old so I will have to proof her the most. I will probably gather up some friends or club members and have them help me do some practice runs beforehand. Thanks again - very informative!
 

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Good luck on the tests :)

I've only been to 2 tests myself, so I'm not very experienced. Both times, dogs failed over the "hiccups" you're concerned with. I'm not sure if it would have been a question of more training/conditioning, or if the dogs themselves just didn't have it in them. Hard to say, but going ballistic around other dogs is a big no-no, lol. Same with crying and pulling when you're out of your dog's sight.

If your dog is ok with other dogs, and it's just a matter of wanting to play, I don't think you'll have a problem. Can you ask for "leave it" or something like that, just to get the dog's attention off the other dog? I find that just being in the same space for a bit gets the dog to lose interest.

I'm coming at this from the opposite end of things. My eventual goal is to continue visiting at the long-term care facility, but my puppy isn't even close to that yet. Even if he excelled in the testing, he's still way to much of a 'bull in a china shop' to trust him around the residents.
 

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Just thought of something else - with my little dog that has the brain injury thing, the class helped with chunking things, pieces of the test, and then, we'd put the pieces together. By the end, it was just memorization and muscle memory for her it was all one movement. She really had no idea what she was doing, it was just kind of like a dance that she could replicate. If something had gone wrong or they had moved tests around, we would have been in trouble! In fact the first test was the one we had difficulty with, and then from there it was very Rain Man for us. So that might be another way to look at it.

The other thing I would do would be to add another exercise after the long separation. So the dog is looking forward to you coming back but knows they aren't finished, that they will still be working. That way it's not OMGOMGOMGOMG where is she, I get a treat at the end, but okay, she comes back and we do another thing and then done. I don't know if that will work, but it would work behavioral (more human but so was all that stuff I did with Mariele) point of view. I don't know if having it be a favorite thing would be better or a less favorite thing.
 

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What I did with the 'reaction to another dog' section is I told my dog to down/stay before they brought the other dog out. That helped a lot because then it was just an obedience thing and she knew she had to stay and was not allowed to approach the dog.

The supervised separation, I'd say it is something you should practice or at least try out ahead of time to see what your dog will do if you're not sure how they will react. My dog had no problem with this, I told her to sit, handed the leash to the person and walked away and she was fine.
 

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Oh oops, I was referring to the CGC in my post... For TDI, I know we didn't do figure 8's through other dogs though, although another therapy dog test I took does have you do a heeling pattern around another dog that is in a down-stay (and then your dog is the down-stay dog later).
In that case maybe work on eye contact/leave it? When I did the TDI (with my last dog, I haven't done that one with Bianca) for the "reaction to another dog" section it was one owner and one dog, approaching each other with the dogs in heel and then put the dogs in a sit-stay and the owners greeted each other. Similar to the CGC I think? I can't remember if they had any dogs in the "walking through a crowd" section, I don't think so but if they did it was many one and we definitely did not do figure 8s with other dogs passing beside us.
 
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